The Public Buildings coursework brief for Sepänpuisto in Helsinki was characterised by the programmatic variety of multi-use spaces, exhibitions, artists’ residences, offices and galleries. The design is a pronounced object building, a compact information center/exhibition space of 1600 m2, with maximized public access. A cafe and a store+gallery are located on the ground floor. Importantly, movement and circulation within the building is in visual connection to the everyday urban activity on street level and in the park, challenging the object-like physical quality by linking into the people flow of the city. The design includes a pocket park to offer a place to take in the surroundings of Punavuori and Eira in a pleasant microclimate, something that has been lacking along Tehtaankatu with its private residential front yards and busy traffic.
The physical design is strongly characterized by skeleton-like oversized pillars carrying the weight of floors 3-4, which form a Vierendeel truss. Upper floors have terraces to prevent the glazed areas from overheating. The pillars are an essential part of the interior spaces in the building, and the dominant structure differenciates floors from one another spatially.
The building is closely connected to the urban context: the residential blocks of Sepänkatu are mirrored in the glazed facades, while the scale of the art nouveau villas of Eira is followed in the building height and footprint. The urban spaces produced by the building are complimenting the neighboring Agricola Church by intensifying the streetscape and creating new vertical layers of access.
Ground floor (cafe, museum shop)
2nd floor (office)